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332 McDougall to Bruce

Letter (extract) ATLANTIC CITY, 21 November 1943

The delegations all came down here in a special train on Nov 10th and since then we have been hard at it. [1] The U.S. team is headed by Acheson who has done well especially in speaking in a large committee, a good parliamentary style-otherwise they are undistinguished.

The U.K. lot are not as impressive as at Hot Springs. The subject is difficult from their standpoint and it would probably be unreasonable to have expected anything like leadership. Llewellin has neither covered himself with glory nor created a bad impression. Rather it's been one of concentrate upon short term interests. The Canadians are in strong force and quite good. Our crowd: Dixon, Brigden, McCarthy, Stirling [2], and myself Dixon does well. In private he expresses the most violent anti-American views but in Committee he is patient and his skill as a draughtsman has been recognised. We had a cable of instructions which was most difficult i.e. get all possible prestige and give nothing or as little as possible. [3]

In our show Brigden and McCarthy have been acting closely with Dixon on the two major political issues, i.e. the scope of U.N.R.R.A., and financial contributions, Stirling has been acting for him on U.N.R.R.A. relations with Governments while I have had the job of representing Australia on agriculture, health and generally the operative side of U.N.R.R.A. in which Dixon has not shown any marked interest. He is charming in many ways, meticulous and more closely tied by his instructions than I should have expected. Since there are four main committees and some fifteen sub-committees plus 'working parties', drafting committees etc. we have been going hard.

The major difficulties have been on the scope of U.N.R.R.A. where Lehman took a rather positive line in opposition to a French aided by U.K. attempt to tie his hands over the allocation of supplies.

The compromise reached represents a gain for Lehman who had the sympathy of most delegations. The financial contribution issue is probably settled. Our instructions there were most hampering [4] but Dixon picked up a suggestion of mine about the special position of countries which would find themselves used as a base for the United Nations during the continuance of the war (in Pacific by inference) and in getting this accepted. [5] It is very clear that the 1% of national income formula was adopted by the U.S. in order to ensure that the American contribution would be large.

They felt that this formula would be one they could get accepted by Congress. I have put in a lot of time on the Food and Agriculture Committee and I think our report will be sound. It will in effect modify the over-insistence of Article XII of Hot Springs on the need for cereals production in Europe. I suggested that U.N.R.R.A. should concentrate attention on the first crop years following liberation and this will I think be adopted.

My impression is that in a couple of days the committees will have finished their reports and there will then be less pressure and some opportunity for discussing wider issues with some of the members of delegations here. It is expected that the Conference will be finished on Nov 29th. There has been far too much to do here to make it possible to have any meetings of the committees of the Interim Commission here. The two main jobs to be tackled as soon as this Conference is over is to reach decisions on our report to Governments about the functions and constitution of the Permanent Organization. I expect we should get solidly down to these issues as soon as we return to Washington.

Boudreau [6] is here acting as a personal adviser to Lehman with special reference to U.N.R.R.A. personnel. He indicated that my name was down with a pretty high priority but I told him that the relief issue did not interest me very much.

I suppose you will have had all the information about the outcome of the U.S.-U.K. economic talks. I have gathered from both sides that J.M.K. [7] was extremely arrogant.

Today I heard from a U.K. friend who turned up here for one day and who participated in the talks that the need for an over-all Economic body to correlate all the specialist bodies was fully accepted during the talks. As soon as I get back to Washington I'll get hold of Pasvolsky who is more a key figure than ever since Sumner Welles' departure. I had a friendly note from Welles just before I left Washington and hope to see him shortly.

There seems little doubt that on these economic and social issues Washington will be the centre so long as the war lasts.

[matter omitted]


1 See Document 304, note 2.

2 See Document 304, paragraph 3.

3 See Document 325.

4 See cablegram 1346 of 4 November on file AA:A989, 43/735/751/5.

The instruction read: 'The proposal that each nation should make a financial contribution of a fixed per cent. of its national income is open to very serious objection. It does not take account of the relative size of each nation's international financial reserves.

Moreover, it also ignores the varying financial burdens imposed by the prosecution of the war. Very few of the United and associated nations are contributing anything to the common war effort, a few countries are doing all the fighting.' 5 The conference agreed that nations whose home territory had not been occupied by the enemy should contribute approximately 1 per cent of their national income. However this was qualified by a rider which read: 'The Council recognises that there are cases in which the recommendations above may conflict with particular demands arising from the continuance of the war or may be excessively burdensome because of peculiar situation [sic], and therefore recognises that the amount and character of contribution recommended is subject to such conditions.' See Dixon's cablegram AC5 of 22 November on the file cited in note 4.

6 See Document 22, note 3.

7 i.e. Lord Keynes.

[AA:M104, 11 (4)]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History